Google's roadside Sociable Weavers2014-05-15 (516)
Google Streetview covers more or less all public tarred roads in South Africa. This allowed Amour McCarthy to 'travel' these roads in the comfort of her office and document all Sociable Weaver colonies next to these roads in the Northern Cape. Sociable Weaver colonies are conspicuous and last many years, making it easy to see them on Google Streetview. The streetview in the Northern Cape was covered in 2010 (Mar-Apr, Oct-Dec).
Amour submitted 1387 records to PHOWN by carefully recording the coordinates and taking a screen-shot of each colony. Most of these colonies were on telephone poles (n=1362), but 25 were noted in trees near the road edge. The most striking feature of the distribution of the colonies along tarred roads is that they seem to radiate outwards from Upington, suggesting that the habit of nesting on telephone poles may have started near Upington. The first published record of a Sociable Weaver nest on a telephone pole is from near Postmasburg (Sclater WL, 1928, Bull. Brit. Orn. Club. 48:66).
These Google records provide a baseline record, so do record the first Sociable Weaver colony and submit to PHOWN whenever you enter its range - this will show if the range is changing or staying the same over future years.
See all the Sociable Weaver PHOWN records here.